Poinsettia Bowl Player Profile & History

Posted Dec 7, 2006

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Player Profile & History

TCU (10-2) vs. Northern Illinois (7-5)

Dec. 19, 8 p.m. ESPN2

Get Tickets for the Poinsettia Bowl | Get picks for the top games for every sport

- Poinsettia Bowl Preview


Poinsettia Bowl History
2005 - Navy 51 ... Colorado State 30

By Richard Cirminiello

Poinsettia Bowl Player profile
QB Jeff Ballard, TCU – Under “intangibles” in the football dictionary, there ought to be a head shot of Ballard.  His spirals aren’t always the tightest and he’d rather run through a defender than slide in front of him, but he’s won 18 of his 20 career starts in Fort Worth, largely because of those unique traits that are inherent to all winning players and can’t be taught at an Elite 11 Quarterback Camp.  Ballard leads like a coach on the field, makes everyone around him sharper and often plays through pain, an infectious, yet all too common occurrence in 2006.  Very early in the season, the Frogs’ offensive catalyst injured his back and the AC joint in his throwing shoulder, yet hasn’t missed a game or many tacklers when scrambling outside the pocket.  Only recently has Ballard begun to approach 100% physically, and not coincidentally, the TCU offense hasn’t been this explosive since, well, since Ballard replaced Tye Gunn behind center last October.  The Frogs went on a tear to finish the regular season, averaging 45 points a game over the final three weekends and twice racking up more than 600 yards behind a perfect blend of the run and the pass.  An energized Ballard was the conductor, throwing seven touchdown passes and running for four more, while completing nearly 80% of his throws.  A few extra weeks of rest leading up to this game means he’ll be as healthy as he’s been all year, an ominous thought for the suspect Northern Illinois pass defense.  Ballard isn’t up for any national awards nor is he considered one of next April’s can’t-miss NFL prospects.  He just wins football games, which is just fine for head coach Gary Patterson and the TCU program.

Best Horned Frog Bowl Moment – Generations before the current Frogs were even out of diapers, TCU was winning Southwest and national titles in the 1930s with All-Americans, such as Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien.  O’Brien’s 1938 TCU team capped off a perfect season with a 15-7 Sugar Bowl victory over then- No. 5 Carnegie Tech.

Best Huskie Bowl Moment
– There wasn’t much drama or many style points, but Northern Illinois’ 34-21 win over Troy in the 2004 Silicon Valley Classic was a landmark victory for a program that was breaking a 21-year postseason dry spell.

TCU's best win ...
TCU 12 ... Texas Tech 3
It wasn't a thing of beauty as Texas Tech was held without a touchdown for the first time since 2000. Chris Manfredini kicked four field goals, one in each quarter for all the points TCU would need against a Red Raider offense that put up 242 yards and only managed a 22-yard Alex Trlica field goal in the first quarter. TCU outrushed Tech 180 yards to 34 and successful on three fourth down stops.

TCU's worst loss ... Utah 20 ... TCU 7
Utah got two touchdown passes from Brett Ratliff to Brett Casteel and the defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter to go 2-0 in Mountain West play. TCU got a one-yard Lonta Hobbs touchdown run in the second quarter, but failed to connect on a few chances in the second half and got many of its 310 yards on a garbage time final drive. Louie Sakoda hit field goals from 29 and 32 yards out for the Utes.

Northern Illinois' best win ...
Northern Illinois 31 ... Central Michigan 10
Garrett Wolfe ran for three touchdowns scoring from ten, two and 13 yards out and Dan Nicholson threw a 20-yard scoring pass as Northern Illinois blew past the MAC West champions. The Chippewas managed a one-yard Ontario Sneed touchdown catch and a 25-yard field goal from Rick Albreski, but the defense couldn't handle Wolfe and a NIU running game that helped the Huskies hold on to the ball for 33:42. 

Northern Illinois' worst loss ...
Toledo 17 ... Northern Illinois 13
Toledo went on a 17-point first half run with Aaron Opelt running for a six-yard score and threw a three-yard scoring pass to Steve Odom, and then had to hang on for dear life as the Huskies, who opened up the scoring with a five-yard Marcus Perez touchdown catch, got two Chris Nendick field goals, and had a chance at the win on the final drive. Helped by two pass interference calls, NIU got to the Rocket two. After two incomplete passes and a run by Garrett Wolfe that went nowhere thanks to a stop from Greg Hay, a Horvath pass to Britt Davis in the end zone was broken up by Hay to preserve the win.

2005 Poinsettia Bowl
Navy 51 ... Colorado State 30

Navy ripped off 467 rushing yards in a game that saw 1,183 yards of total offense and a record-tying performance from Midshipman RB Reggie Campbell, who scored five times. Colorado State held a 10-7 lead after the first quarter, but Navy reeled off 27 straight points on Campbell touchdown runs of 22, 2 and 21 yards out along with a 22-yard Marco Nelson scoring run. CSU kept it interesting in the second half thanks to QB Justin Holland, who finished with three touchdown passes, including two in the third quarter to Dustin Osborn, but the navy option proved to be too much to overcome with FB Adam Ballard pounding for 129 yards to lead the way.
Player of the game: Navy RB Reggie Campbell ran 16 times for 116 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 89 yards and two scores, and returned four kickoffs for 85 yards.
Stat Leaders: Navy - Passing: Lamar Owens, 5-10, 144 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Adam Ballard, 15-129. Receiving: Reggie Campbell, 2-89, 2 TD
Colorado State - Passing: Justin Holland, 26-33, 381 yds, 3 TD
Kyle Bell, 22-122, 1 TD. Receiving: David Anderson, 9-126

TCU Bowl History (8-13-1)
2005 Houston TCU 27, Iowa State 24
2003 Fort Worth Boise St 34, TCU 31
2002 Liberty TCU 17, Colorado St 3
2001 Galleryfurniture Texas A&M 28, TCU 9
2000 Mobile Alabama So Miss 28, TCU 21
1999 Mobile Alabama TCU 28, East Carolina 14
1998 Sun TCU 28, USC 19
1994 Independence Virginia 20, TCU 10
1984 Bluebonnet West Virginia 31, TCU 14
1965 Sun UTEP 13, TCU 12
1959 Bluebonnet Clemson 23, TCU 7
1958 Cotton TCU 0, Air Force 0
1956 Cotton TCU 28, Syracuse 27
1955 Cotton Mississippi 14, TCU 13
1951 Cotton Kentucky 20, TCU 7
1947 Delta Mississippi 13, TCU 9
1944 Cotton Oklahoma State 34, TCU 0
1941 Orange Georgia 40, TCU 26
1938 Sugar TCU 15, Carnegie Mellon 7
1936 Cotton TCU 16, Marquette 6
1935 Sugar TCU 3, LSU 2
1920 Forth Worth Classic Centre 63, TCU 7
Northern Illinois Bowl History (2-0)
2004 Silicon Valley NIU 34, Troy 21
1983 California NIU 20, CS Fullerton 13